A brilliant comic book about beards, evil and how it can be good to break the mould, by Stephen Collins
I get asked a lot ‘where is a good place to start with comic books?’ and it is always a question I have a problem answering. In truth, it’s about as hard to answer as ‘where is a good place to start with films?’ as comic books are just as vast and varied medium. A lot of the time I don’t want to suggest super hero titles as they only represent one facet of the genre, which often leads me to a bit of a loose end, or at least it used to. The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil is a perfect graphic novel to try if your thinking of getting into the medium.
The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil is centred around the island of Here, a place where cookie cutter people go about their lives conforming to some strange ideal of suburban perfection. The main character, Dave, starts to become disenfranchised with the island and as he becomes more distant he begins to grow a beard, an evil beard. The narrative is strong, as it presents us with a small world filled with meaning that Collins explores throughout the novel throughly. There is almost nothing bad to say about the writing, but if it has a weakness it might be in its pacing as it is slow to start.
The art is beautiful, Stephan Collins pulls double duty as both an artist and writer for the graphic novel but it’s easy to see that he is an artist first and foremost. The art is mono-coloured which seems to enhance the themes of conformity and anarchy which run through out the piece. Collins work with the appearance of the beard may be the greatest artistic aspect of piece as it is visually stunning and begins to gain a life of it’s own. The art leaves little to be desired and is a masterclass in visual story telling.
There is a lot that can be said about The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil but in truth the only way to fully understand it is to read it and as I mentioned earlier it’s a fantastic book for beginners. You can pick up the graphic novel for between £11 (on Amazon) and around £20 which is average for a volume of this size. I highly recommend picking this book up if your interested at all in reading comic books and graphic novels, also it’s the only graphic novels I know of not being turned into a film so when it does get turned into a film you can be all hipster and say you read it first.